Dating, relationships

He’s Committed to Me, But Wants to Sleep with Other People

T,
I have been with this guy for 2 years and we broke up. I was head over heels, I would have done anything for him. He didn’t have to say it but I knew he wouldn’t do the same or couldn’t. He had some demons he needed to take care of.

Well, we were broken up for about a month and we got back together. It’s been a few weeks and things are tremendously better. Everything has been so passionate and intimate, he shows so much affection, he never did before. He told me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and he’s never said that to anyone ever.

The problem is, he wants me and him to hook up with other people together. He wants to have more experiences (he’s already had past experiences with ex-girlfriends). I expressed to him I’m not comfortable with it. Just thinking about him sleeping with other people hurts, watching him sleep with somebody else would just rip my heart out.

He doesn’t want to break up, at least not right now is what he says. Both of our personal lives have been going downhill and it’s like we lift each other up. But I know me not wanting him to sleep with other people is a deal-breaker. He wants to see if one of us will come around eventually but I think if we stay together the heartbreak will hurt even worse. Being with him has been so magical, I feel amazing, but I can’t keep this on the back burner until we start having problems or he gets bored with our sex life. Any advice?

-Madison

Dear Madison,

Thanks for writing to me. After reading your email, it seems the issues you’re facing in your relationship boil down to two issues that many people debate in today’s culture. So let’s get right to it.

One issue that your question touches on is monogamy. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been in or around a conversation about whether or not a man can realistically commit to one person. While I know many people say it’s not natural for men to be monogamous, I tend to think it’s a case by case thing. Some men when they are committed to a person have no desire to explore physical relationships with other people. Then there are others like your boyfriend who see commitment different. This second group of guys tends to view commitment through a particular lens, and sex with other people isn’t a betrayal to the relationship, because it’s just sex (it may sound crazy to you, but not every person develops a connection with a sexual partner).

The other issue your letter touches on is compromising in a relationship. I wholeheartedly believe that in any great relationship, there is a heavy element of compromise. Each person must give a little and gets a little to make the coupledom work and lasts as long as possible. And without compromises made on both sides of a relationship, the relationship is doomed to be unhealthy, or even fail.

Having said all that, let’s get back to your dilemma. If you are steadfast in your belief that you don’t want to sleep with other people, and definitely don’t want your boyfriend sleeping with other folks, then you need to strongly convey that. Tell your boyfriend that while you love him, you absolutely can’t negotiate on this point. However, in doing this, tell him what things you’d be willing to do to spice things up sexually. Now what that is, that’s completely up to you, but show him you’re willing to try and make this work. Also, it will help you figure out your sexual boundaries with your boyfriend if you knew why he really enjoys sleeping with people who aren’t you. So ask the question.

Lastly, I want to caution you from sabotaging a relationship. It almost sounds as if you are ready to throw in the towel because you think if you end it now, it won’t hurt later “when” you two break up eventually because of his sexual desires. But from your letter, it also appears like you two aren’t in the final stages of negotiating this issue just yet. Please know, because you’re already involved with this guy and have been for years, ending things now may not save you any pain down the road.

Suggestions going forward.

1. I just have one suggestion here. You two need to talk. Offer him your compromise if sleeping with other people is not an option.

As always nothing but love,

Tavion Scott
(IG: accordingtot)

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